Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Transitioning a Sundress

The weather being what it is here in Scotland, I figured I would expand upon the theme I started earlier in the week and talk a little more about transitional dressing. This time of year that's the buzzword on every retailer and magazine editor's lips. I am a huge fan of transitional dressing, probably because most of the year in Scotland would be considered "transitional" by any number of measures.

I found this sundress for £15 on sale at Topshop last week, and fell in love with it. It will be perfect for our upcoming Mediterranean holiday in September, and it just so happens it fits with all of the elements that I look for when choosing something summery to transform into something slightly less summery.  To transition successfully, I do the following:
  1. Choose a sundress in a style and print that will actually translate well into the cooler months. Tribal prints (like this dress) work really well, as do some graphic prints and of course, solids. Leave Hawaiian prints, Lilly Pulitzer, or anything too overtly nautical alone. By nature these will be too summery to do much with. Save them for your next warm weather holiday.
  2. Waist definition. You need it. Even if the dress is styled to be worn loose, once you start layering for transitional weather, you are going to want that waist definition. Do it however you like, but most likely you'll be needing a belt. 
  3. Shoe choice is key. For styling a sundress in summer, I can't get enough of flat, metallic sandals. They are practically a neutral and add a bit of life without over-complicating things. For transitional weather, choose something heavier, even if it is just a chunkier open-toe sandal. If it is not warm enough for open toes, try a heeled shoe bootie (with or without tights). Tall boots are often too heavy to pair with all but the most structured of summer dresses, so tread lightly. Pun intended. 

Topshop dress (sold out), similar, similar / Sam & Libby for Target sandals (last season), similar / J. Crew cardigan (last season), similar  / H&M sandals (sold out), similar / thrifted DKNY belt, similar / gold hoop earrings (old), similar

Make it happen.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Wallis Navy Shift Three Ways

This is my second collaboration with Wallis in which their Style Advisor app generated a recommendation for me based on the data from my editable profile (to see the first one, click here). Once again, the Style Advisor recommendation was pretty much right on the money. Granted, I probably would have never chosen something in lace for myself (I'm not much of a lace girl), but in this inky navy colour, this Navy Lace Embellished Dress seemed somehow more crisp and nautical and less fussy than traditional lace, so I used the opportunity to splash-out and try something new.

What I like about this versatile shift dress is the loose fit. It's perfect for taking on a holiday and wearing with flats or sandals, or layering-up for the fast-approaching transitional weather. The material is whisper light, and to be honest in the past I probably would have walked right past this dress based on that alone, but having worn it around for a while now, my mind has been opened. Plus, I can take the stairs two (if not three) at a time in this dress, something I've done my entire life and a measure of how user-friendly a day dress is in my world.  The jewelled neckline makes the dress easy to accessorise...basically you don't have to. With a jewelled neckline, I like to wear my hair pulled-back in a simply ponytail as to not compete with what's essentially a built-in accessory, add some simple stud earrings, and that's pretty much it.

The Wallis Style Advisor app has shown me a side of my sartorial self that I didn't know existed, and in doing do has widened my range of possibilities the next time I'm looking to put-together a new look.  Me + lace. Who knew?

Look 1: Wallis dress / Manolo Blahnik shoes (old), similar

Look 2 : dress as above / thrifted Levis denim jacket / Dooney & Bourke handbag (old), similar, similar / silver gladiators (old), similar, similar

Look 3: dress as above / H&M long-sleeve tee (old), similar / thrifted DKNY belt, similar / Dune booties (old), similar

 This post has been happily shared with Not Dead Yet Style

Make it happen. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The End is Near

It's been a busy week here in the Highlands, so you'll have to excuse the lag. I'll get caught up with you guys over the weekend, but in the meantime, here's something to make you break out in a cold sweat.

This was on the rack at H&M in Glasgow this week. Remember these? They were on. The. Rack.

As in, new.

Someone actually thought we might want to wear these again.

First the cold, unseasonably apocalyptic Scottish weather, and now this. There really is no other explanation other than this must be the end of days. Get out now while you still can. Save yourselves.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Summer in the Highlands

We made this happen.

For weeks now, those of us who live in the Scottish West Highlands have been waxing lyrical about what a lovely summer we've had so far. Everyone was talking about it - in the streets, the grocery stores; you couldn't get away from it. All that talk must have finally made its way up Mount Olympus and annoyed and infuriated the Gods, because as soon as the month of August arrived, Zeus aimed his javelin-like thunderbolt at us, enlisted the help of his main man Poseidon, and together they conjured some of the rainiest, gustiest, most gut-churningly turbulent weather I have ever seen in the middle of summer (or "summer" as I like to call it here). We have the central heating running as I write this, and I have staged an emergency evacuation of my 15 orchid plants from the ventilated sun room to more insulated windowsills and shelving throughout the house until the wrath of the Gods subsides.

This bites.

But instead of completely losing all hope, let's talk a little bit about dressing for this kind of weather. Because goodness knows, we see plenty of people who arrive on these shores for a summer holiday completely unprepared for it. So lets address this, just in case I haven't scared all of you off of a potential visit. Let's talk about the most essential piece of kit; the jacket.

I know a lot is always made of classic Barbour jackets for British weather conditions, but for my money, I'll take a Musto jacket any day (which is what I'm wearing here). Windproof, rainproof, lightweight, and insulated, Musto jackets are a staple among seafarers (one of which I am married to) and they really do keep the elements out. Like, really keep them out. I don't wear this jacket very often, but when I do, it's because I really need to be wearing it.

Rubber wellies are another great tool for schlepping-around in inclement weather, although they're not particularly comfortable, so you need a good pair of wool socks. If you are travelling and going to be doing a lot of walking, I would not wear wellies, and opt instead for a pair of lightweight but rainproof hiking boots (for the country) or Chelsea boots (for the city). That said, I got these no-brand wellies from a local shop for £14. As cute as some of the colourful and printed Hunter wellies are, there is simply no way in this lifetime I can make myself pay upwards of £100 for a pair of unlined rubber rain boots. It just seems insane.

Scarves, gloves, whatever else you think you might need to ride out the wrath of the Gods, you should have them on hand. You might not need them (it is August, after all), but then might. Probably.

Yes, you will.

This post has been happily shared with Mis Papelicos and Bloggers Share-In-Style

You'll be needing these.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Can This Hot Mess Be Saved?

This is Day Three Hair. It has been through one night shift, one doubles match, yoga, a run, countless ponytails and/or topknots, and three sleeps.  This is epic for me. I have always been one of those every-day hair washing kind of gals. Lately though, I have been making a conscious effort not to wash my hair too much now that I no longer colour, as it gets dry really fast with too much washing. But it can be difficult between the workouts and the natural texture of my hair (wavy, thick, fuzzy) not to want to just stick it under the tap and start over.

Instead, I have taken to trying to revive my mop in other ways. Here is my latest last-ditch hair fix before I finally to give-in and bust-out the shampoo bottle.

It works! Granted, I took this photo right after I removed the rollers, and they tend to relax after a while and settle-in for a less Old Hollywood look and more of a soft wave, which I prefer. you can also brush it out to the way you want it to look, then spray it to hold it in place. I just ran a little shine serum through it and called it a day.

Click here for a great online tutorial on how to use hot rollers to get the look you want.

Fix Your Own Hot Mess

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Feminine, Tough, Floral, Strappy.

While I was performing a recent wardrobe clean out, I realised with a degree of disbelief that I didn't own a pair of black strappy sandals. I mean, sure, I have flat gladiators, industrial-strength chunky low heels and wedges for day and casual nights out...basically I have all manner of black shoes that look like they are ready to kick ass and take names, but nothing really appropriate for more demure occasions. We are going away on vacation in September, and a black strappy sandal is one of those things that you can wear with many, many different looks. How did this get by me? It just goes to show, you have to be diligent.

I wanted something light and delicate, but not so delicate that it couldn't balance a look if you had something strong or structured on top. I found these Manolos in an online consignment shop for $60. They're in perfect shape, comfy (as Manolos always are) and if taken care of, will last indefinitely. Score.

A comprehensive gallery of Feminine, Tough, Floral, Strappy.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Super Duper Girly

My coffee cup is such an extension of my body that I didn't even realise I still had it in my hand when I went to take this first photo. I take my coffee very seriously. To come between me and the espresso machine would be a fool's errand indeed. You have been warned.

This dress is a new addition to my wardrobe. I saw it months ago in the H&M in Glasgow in the limited edition section for about £50, but they didn't have my size (as is often the case with dresses I find on the high street, I have to size up on account of my long-waistedness making the top part hit at the wrong place).  I searched on their internet site and did the obligatory call-around to different stores, but couldn't find one anywhere, so I gave up.

Fast forward to two weeks ago, I was online looking at the H&M end of season sale, and BAM, there is was, in my size, and for £25 instead of £50. Yes, please.

Funny, I'm always banging-on about how I'm not comfortable in hyper-girly clothes, yet this dress is actually really girly. Like, super duper girly. There was just something about it; a kind of vintagey-Chanel-ey vibe that even after I had given up and put the thought of the dress out of my mind, the idea of it still spoke to me enough to pull the trigger. What I will say about wearing something so unabashedly feminine, is that I shy away from accessories. A pair of earrings, a ring, and that is it. No cute cardigan (I'd pair this with a tough biker jacket if I needed a coat), no match-matchy frame clutch, no shawl (shudder)...I find that in over-accessorising a super duper girly dress, one runs the risk of looking like the crazed cat lady Auntie at the garden party; Miss Havisham on crack.

I had also always thought I hated lavender, but apparently I don't. Actually, I now realise why there always seems to be such an inordinate amount of lilac and lavender in clothing that is marketed to older women; it looks totally badass with grey hair. I can live with that. Just somebody stop me if I start showing up on here in lavender polyester pants suits.